Increasingly, couples, not only young couples, but also couples who are facing a second or third marriage, ask for counseling with issues of differing religious beliefs as one of the primary places of disagreement. Here are some brief thoughts on this matter.

Couples who grew up in differing faiths or even different Christian denominations cannot long ignore the issues that will inevitably arise when the subject of children comes along.

For those who have never thought through the differences between religion and spirituality, these dialogues evoke feelings of frustration, misunderstanding or tension.

As ‘religion and politics’ are those two topics we have been told to avoid for social gatherings lest conflicts arise, in relationships, religion is the one of these two that needs clarity and understanding if the couple is to proceed.

The quote from the New Testament, John 14:6 and “I am the way...” is often interpreted by church denominations as ‘our way is the true way.” (See “Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God”) gives the following definition:
Religion as “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects” i.e., the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion."
Spiritual as “standing in a relationship based on communication between the souls or minds of the persons involved: i.e. a spiritual father." (Emphasis added)

Hmm. Rules or Relationship? Differing approaches entirely, involving different parts of the brain. A “masculine” and a “feminine” perspective.

How do I incorporate discussions of religious beliefs and spirituality into my psychotherapy practice? In my next post, I will review some of the more common issues and my approaches to them.

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